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17 June 2010

All You Need Is Love

The jukebox in my head has this amazing shuffle feature.
Pick a day, any day, and I've got some random song buzzing through my skull.  
And usually it ends up with a full audio track for anyone within an ear-shot.
Yesterday, "The Way" by Fastball was center stage.
This morning, "Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes" by Elvis Costello was the choice du jour.
A couple of days ago I started singing "I Swear", the 90's classic by the group All-4-One.
Now when you are at home singing in the shower or kitchen or wherever and nobody is around it's really not an issue.  We all do it.
But now that I am back in the working world, I probably need to be a little more aware of when to hit that play switch.
A few days ago I was typing along on my computer at work and all of a sudden I just belted out the words "And I Swear".
Immediately, like it was on cue, my co-worker, easily 15 years my junior, added from across the room "by the moon and the stars in the sky."
And with that, All-4-Two was born.
It kind of reminded me of that Saturday Night Live skit where one guy in a bathroom stall starts humming Under the Boardwalk* and the next thing you know the guys in the other three or four stalls are tapping their feet and singing backup.
Unlike most of the songs that pop into my head, there actually was a good reason why "I Swear" made it onto my playlist.
You see, a few weeks ago, my daughter and I attended the wedding of one of my closest friends and the sister of his wife-to-be is married to one of the four singers from All-4-One.
At the wedding he treated us to a live solo version of the big hit as well as another love song that was perfect for the occasion.
After his performance (and I had a couple of drinks), I offered to sing backup on one of my favorite songs from that album, a great cover of the Motown classic "So Much In Love".
He politely turned me down saying that we needed four people for that song.
Well as great as it was to have our own private concert, that was only one of the highlights of the four-day affair.
Wedding, affair.  Bad choice of words.
But it was an amazing four-day show for two wonderful and genuine people who are truly, so much in love.
It was not a wedding for just the bride and groom, but it was a celebration for all of us lucky folk who were smart enough to attend.
I guess I can add this to the list of things I would not have been able to do if I was still a full-time employee.
Glass half full, right?
It was an honor to be asked to give the toast at their wedding and I made sure I had prepared a speech.
I spoke about my friend, who I view as a brother, an older brother, by 355 days.  
We went to college together, we lived together, we both went into the TV business, we both are sports fanatics...
My kids call him Uncle, even when he is not twisting their arm.
My only sibling is 14 years older than me, so I always dreamed of having a brother closer to my age.   I just had to wait until my teenage years to get one.
Actually, I got a bunch of them.
I am so very fortunate to have a core group of friends that I would do anything for and they would do anything for me.
You really get to appreciate your true friends when your life goes a little sour.
They are the ones who tell you to quit your whining when you bring up unemployment for the 40th time.
Back to the wedding.
Since we met at freshman orientation in 1984, my friend and I have shared it all.
We were sitting next to each other at Dodger Stadium in 1985 when Jack Clark crushed our World Series dreams.
We have spent several long and amazing nights seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert.
And he was one my first calls, in the middle of the night, when my father suddenly passed away in 2002.
During the speech, I spoke about how he has seen every side of me and I have seen every side of him, but I had never seen the side like the first time he described his new bride to me.
Or the second time. 
Or the tenth.
To see him, them, so much in love and so happy is so fantastic.
And to see the families of the bride and groom, who come from opposite sides of the world, come together as one was really incredible.
Despite what you are reading, I'm really not the emotional sapp that I sound like.
I have always found the cynical side or bad tasting joke in everything, but the way my life has changed in the last 18 months, everything now looks a little different.
Since becoming a stay-at-home dad, I have worked very hard to become a more patient person, especially with the kids.  
When I was working 60+ hours a week, my family was always on my priority list, but not nearly as high as they should've been.
I was always able to justify that in my head by saying... "I was doing my part for the family, providing them (material things) by working all those hours."
In reality, they were getting cheated.
The four days I spent with my 13-year old daughter at the wedding may very well be one of the last times that she and I get that quantity and quality of one-to-one time.
And it was one of the highlights of my life.
At NO point did I raise my voice. 
At NO point did we argue. 
At NO point was either of us unhappy.  
At NO point did anything else in the world matter.
To see my friend the happiest I have ever seen him was a real treat.
But I'm the one who got the gift.
I swear.

*-P.S.  I originally wrote the SNL skit featured the song My Girl, but I was corrected by a loyal reader of the blog.   The correct song was Under the Boardwalk.   The reader who corrected me was my friend, who is featured in this entry.    I smell a full circle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From all we have read about your kids it sounds like it was a good thing to take your oldest daughter.